Turn right two times, pull yourself over the stone stairwell … avoid children and stray dogs under your feet. Feel along the cement walls until your fingers touch the frayed rope railing. Follow it to the end of the path, turn left. Finally … home.
Fifty-nine-year-old Aser Roger was born in this house. But, since losing his eyesight, the familiar route home was just a memory. He relied solely on his senses to bring him through the maze that he once knew as his neighborhood.
Blindness meant more than just giving up the independence to walk and enjoy once-cherished sights. For Aser Roger, it meant being unable to care for his loved ones.
This proud father of three daughters was once the primary provider for his family. One day he bent down to pick some crops, and a branch scratched the cornea of his left eye. He lost the vision in that eye, but continued farming for several more years until a cataract clouded the vision in his right eye. After that, he could no longer farm.
Aser Roger lived in a world of shadows and hopelessness for a year and a half. “Every morning when I wake up I pray to God to help me find a way out of this situation,” he said.
Days once spent working to put food on his family’s table were now spent drinking palm wine with friends and whiling away his hours. His younger sister and brother became his eyes, carefully guiding him where he needed to go.
After hearing about the Mercy Ships eye program, his brother brought him to the Africa Mercy for surgery, hopeful that the 20-minute operation was the promise of a new start in Aser’s life.
The procedure was quick. The next day was the moment of truth—his eye patch was removed, and he was able to see for the first time in over a year! The change was immediate and remarkable. Just a day before, he had only been able to see hazy light and darkness, but now his eyesight was an incredible 20/80—light years ahead of where he had been just 48 hours previously.
He couldn’t get home soon enough. “Once we arrived, my brother left me and said, ‘You can cross the road by yourself!’” said Aser Roger. His family shed tears of joy as they watched him walk independently across the busy street.
“You’re back to life! I thought you were lost, but my big brother is finally home!” his younger sister said, weeping with joy.
But the climactic moment Aser Roger had been waiting for finally came when he saw the loving face of his youngest daughter. He had not seen his seven-year-old little girl for over a year.
After several weeks of rest and healing, Mercy Ships doctors gave Aser Roger more good news—he could return to farming. Providing for his family was the second chance he’d prayed for.
“I was so happy that if I had wings, I feel like I would have just flown to the sky,” he rejoiced.
Written by Rose Talbot
Photography by Saul Loubassa-Bighonda
Edited by Karis Johnson and Nancy Predaina
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